“Together in Sport” is the name of a new international project for unaccompanied minors and local children and young people that METAdrasi will implement in Greece, which is initiated by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) together with the German Olympic Sports Federation (DOSB) and the Hellenic Olympic Committee. The aim of the project is to strengthen the cohesion of the people in communities that have taken in young asylum seekers, by creating a wide range of sports education for children and young people in schools and sport clubs. Specially trained volunteers and trainers will offer various team and individual sports as well as leisure activities. “Sport strengthens social cohesion and conveys values, such as fair play, solidarity and team spirit. Common sporting activities connect people of very different origins; they create understanding, promote tolerance and help to break down prejudices” said BAMF Vice President Andrea Schumacher.
At the virtual official kick-off event on March 18, 2021, the German partners involved emphasized the importance of integration which will be promoted through sport activities and signed a project poster as a symbolic baton handover to the Greek partners. The President of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), Dr. Hans-Eckhard Sommer, emphasized in his opening speech that the project has a special status for his authority as an actor in the field of integration promotion: “Relations between people are created, where there are usually common points of reference. This strengthens social cohesion and promotes integration”. Being active in sports together will help unaccompanied minors create contacts and relations, learn the language and, step by step, lead a normal life again. This was also reported by Majid and Mohammad, two beneficiaries of METAdrasi, who came to Greece as unaccompanied minors asylum seekers and for whom sports were used as a medium to gain a foothold. Andreas Silbersack, Vice President of DOSB, is also pleased about the cooperation: “Opening up opportunities for young people, regardless of their origin, to participate in society is one of the main concerns of DOSB. That is why we have proposed “Together in Sport” together with BAMF. We are committed to the project so that more children and young people – with or without refugee experience – can find their way into sport”. Doing sport brings people together, this was also confirmed by Lora Pappa, President of METAdrasi, the organisation that is responsible for the implementation of “Together in Sport” project in Greece, in cooperation with the DOSB network partner, the Hellenic Olympic Committee (HOC). “We are pleased to be able to make a contribution in promoting integration in Greek communities through this project” emphasizes L. Pappa. The President of HOC, Mr. S. Capralos after hearing Mohammad’s and Majid’s stories, confirmed the will of HOC to include talented refugees in the team of Refugee Olympic Athletes.
The virtual event was attended by BAMF President Dr. Hans-Eckhard Sommer, BAMF Vice President Andrea Schumacher, DOSB Vice President Andreas Silbersack, the President of the HOC, Spyros Capralos, the Lord Mayor of Nuremberg, Marcus König, the Mayor of Kavala, Theodoros Mouriadis, and METAdrasi President Lora Pappa. “Toghether in Sports” is largely funded by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF). Nuremberg’s twin city Kavala is the first municipality in Greece to participate, but soon others will follow, representing the mainland and the islands.